Sunday, November 15, 2015

Chapter 6

The next Monday when Amadeo arrived at the school, he caught sight of a small, oddly silent, group of people who had gathered behind the building.  He pushed his way through the crowd easily and choked when he saw what had attracted them.

There was Angelo.  He sagged between two upperclassmen who tossed him back and forth so that his feet barely touched the ground, stumbling when they did.  He'd lost his sneakers, one foot was bare and the sock was half off on the other.  His shirt and jeans were torn, filthy with dirt and blood.  The left side of his face was already showing signs of bruising.  His pockets had been turned out and his book bag unceremoniously dumped, his books and papers scattered.

"Let him go!" Amadeo ordered.  "Let the kid go, now!  And the rest of you! What the hell is wrong with you!?  You just stand around and watch while these two goons beat on someone?!  What if it was you, or one of your friends?  Would you want everyone to just stand around and stare?"

Several of the students gave Amadeo guilty looks and left the area. One muttered "Hell, I didn't take him to raise!" before he slouched away. Approximately ten others stayed to watch the action.

The two older boys stopped what they were doing momentarily.  "This is none of your business, chicken head.  Bug off or I'm gonna deck ya!"  Brice, the larger of the two threatened as he held Angelo's limp form in his meaty fists.

"Come on, you big ape, I’m not afraid of you."  Seeing the bigger boy hesitate, Amadeo taunted, “What's the matter, Brice?  Afraid of coming after someone your own size?  What's next, gonna kick some puppies?  And what about you, Freddie?  Got an appointment to shake down some eighth graders?"

"Like he said, chicken head, bug off!"  Freddie, Brice's right hand sycophant, retorted brightly.

"Let him go.  I'm warning you."  Amadeo maintained.

"Warning... You tryin' to jump bad with me?" Brice scoffed, “You think you c'n take us both on?"  The senior sneered, puffing out his massive chest and pulling himself up to his full 6' 2" height.  "We'll pound you flat as a flitter. 

"Yeah, think you can take us both on?"  Freddie the Toad echoed, puffing out his less massive chest and drawing himself up to his full 5'11" stature.

One of the onlookers turned to his friend and whispered, "Felix, you're The Flash.  Run to the office, man, give 'em the heads up.  This looks like it's gonna be a bad scene.  Have 'em call the bat phone.  Make tracks, man!"

Felix didn't need any further urging. Felix's friend took his own advice and split immediately after.  Two others followed closely behind.

"Let him go, Brice.  Last warning."

"Whatta you gonna do about it, skuzz?  I can snap you like a twig 'thout even tryin'.  I'll slap you so hard when you quit rollin' your clothes'll be outta style."

At that, Amadeo stripped off his jacket and made a 'come here' gesture.  In response, Brice tossed Angelo aside and charged Amadeo like a bull.  Amadeo winced at the sight of the boy crumpling to the ground like a sack of potatoes but was unable to do anything for him.  Amadeo stepped aside like a matador and the bigger boy ran past, stumbling as he tried to slow himself down once he realized he'd missed his target.  Some of the kids watching laughed.  One of the guys sidled over to see if he could help the injured boy who lay on the ground, breathing heavily but otherwise unmoving.

Brice once again lunged at Amadeo, who stepped aside, stuck out a foot and tripped the bigger boy up.  Brice landed face first in the dust.  Freddie took action and ran at Amadeo who turned and planted an elbow in the other boy's midsection.  Winded, Freddie joined his buddy in the dust at Amadeo's feet.

Brice was up quickly and charged Amadeo once again, feet braced wide, prepared for any more tricks.  Amadeo crouched at the last moment, catching Brice in the stomach and flipping the bigger boy over his shoulder.  Brice landed on his back with an undignified 'Oomph!'

Amadeo winced and rubbed his shoulder which felt numb from the impact but kept his eyes on his opponent.  His heart was racing, equal parts adrenaline, fear and anger. 

Why didn't the others help or even run for help?  Why did they all just stand there watching?  What was wrong with them?  He wasn't sure how much longer he could last against the onslaught from both boys and he prayed for a miracle.  Where was the Lone Ranger when you really needed him?

Brice caught his breath and staggered to his feet. "I'm gonna jerk you through a knot!"  He growled.  He charged Amadeo, who landed a hard punch to the bigger boy's mouth before jumping aside.  Amadeo tried not to wince as pain shot through his hand and up his arm, or take notice as the slice across his knuckles caused by the other boy's teeth began to bleed profusely.  Showing pain or weakness at this point was the last thing he wanted to do.

Freddie came at Amadeo then, preparing to land a roundhouse punch.  Amadeo grabbed the boy by the hand, twisted around so that Freddie's arm was behind him and jerked the arm up sharply between his shoulder blades. Freddie screeched in pain.  Amadeo gave the arm another jerk and shoved the boy roughly, causing him to make an awkward three point landing on his left hand and knees in the dust.

Brice put his hand to his mouth and took it away, amazed at the sight of his own blood on it.  "I'll knock you inta nex' week, you som'bish!" he yelled.  He stalked up to Amadeo who braced for the assault.  Brice feinted with his left and swung with his right, catching Amadeo across the temple.  Amadeo staggered back, stunned, but shook it off quickly.  When he saw Brice charging at him again, he clasped his hands together to form a club and swung them like a bat, stepping aside once again and catching Brice across the side of the head.  Brice staggered and fell to the ground.

Brice got up stiffly and turned to face Amadeo, his face a mask of anger, his fists clenched, wary now of the younger boy he'd taken for an easy mark.

Amadeo saw the bigger boy give a slight nod.  Suddenly a voice shouted, "Watch it!  He's got a blade!"

He felt more than saw Freddie advance from behind.  Amadeo dropped and rolled toward Brice's feet, spoiling Freddie's aim and Brice's balance.  Once again the two older boys landed in the dust, this time latching onto Amadeo and pinning him beneath them.  Amadeo thought his heart would burst from terror when he saw Freddie raise the knife, preparing to strike.  Someone, he never found out who, kicked Freddie's hand and the knife went flying.  One of the other onlookers kicked it further away from the area where the tussle was taking place.

While he was one of the best wrestlers on the team, the weight of the two boys combined was too much for Amadeo and he was pinned helplessly beneath them.  The boys took advantage of this and proceeded to punch the younger boy, occasionally catching each other in their fury.  If Amadeo had known this he might have laughed.  As it was he was too scared to do much more than fend off the attacks and fight back as well as he was able. Blow after blow landed on his face, head, and midsection.  He was strangely aware that he wasn't feeling any pain from the blows that rained down on him. He idly wondered why it was getting dark so early in the morning.  It was still morning, wasn't it?

While Freddie continued pounding on Amadeo, Brice staggered to his feet and began to viciously kick the younger boy who lay curled in the dust.  Taking his cue from Brice, Freddie got up and went after his knife again.  The boy who'd kicked it aside tried to put his foot on it but Freddie caught the kid with a roundhouse punch and knocked him back.  Freddie picked up the knife and advanced once again on the helpless boy on the ground.

Before he knew what happened, Freddie found himself curled in the dirt once again, face screwed up in pain, clutching his privates and whining in a high pitched tone.  

Angelo turned away from Freddie's prone form and ran at Brice and using his full weight and force, hit the larger boy with a flying kick to the knee that Joel Holt* would have been proud of.

Brice howled in pain and collapsed on the ground, arms curled protectively around the injured knee.  Angelo staggered toward Amadeo's prostrate form and fell down beside him, completely wiped out after having used up the last of his energy.

The sound of running footsteps alerted the audience.  "Beat feet! Cobra at two o' clock!" someone yelled, and the remainder of the watchers scattered.

Mr. Young, the gym teacher, and Mr. Stewart, the British Lit teacher, were the first to reach the boys, followed closely by Mr. Barnes, Mr. Cobrane and Mr. Garcia, the Spanish teacher.  The wail of sirens could be heard in the distance.

Barnes had heard enough from Felix, who had shown up in the office panicked and winded, to know that Brice and Freddie had been roughing Angelo up, and that Amadeo had rushed in to help.  Barnes was more than familiar with Brice and Freddie, who could be ruthless and were so feared within the school that none of the other students would say a word against them for fear of being their next target.  But he was amazed to find the two biggest bullies in the school curled on the ground, looking like they'd been rode hard and put up wet.

Mr. Cobrane, who had been a corpsman in WWII, inspected Brice and Freddie quickly, judged their injuries superficial and went quickly to Amadeo and Angelo.  He checked their pupils, they were both out cold.  He gently ran his hands down their arms and legs looking for broken bones, being careful not to move their heads and necks just in case there was damage there that couldn't be detected with hands alone. He was very concerned for Amadeo, whose face and head were badly bruised and swollen.

Mr. Garcia, who had been casting around for Angelo's sneakers and sock, came across the knife.  He took out his handkerchief and wrapped it, not knowing whose it was but knowing that it was evidence.  He then went over to Angelo and took a good look at the boy.  He'd been an army medic and he did much the same as Cobrane had done, gently running his hands down the boy’s spine and legs.  The toes of his bare right foot were swollen and discolored.  He removed his suit jacket and folded it, propping Angelo's foot up until help could arrive.

Mr. Young and Mr. Stewart stood guard over Brice and Freddie, just in case they recovered and tried to run. 

Within minutes Mrs. Jennings came around the corner, calmly leading a policeman and a paramedic that she'd had the foresight to call as well as the police, once she'd heard who was involved in the fight.  Her eyebrows rose in surprise as she took note of the two bullies still curled in the dust.  She'd only understood part of what Felix had been trying to say but from the looks of it Amadeo had hung tough and hadn't gone down easily.

The paramedic ducked back around the corner and signaled to someone.  Seconds later an ambulance and police car drove around the corner, over the curb and into the lot behind the school.  Cobrane and Garcia waved the paramedics over to Amadeo and Angelo, while the police responded to Barnes's summons toward the two older boys.

Garcia and Cobrane filled the paramedics in on what they'd done and observed and then stood back to let the men do their jobs.  One medic ran back to the ambulance and came back with cervical collars and back boards.  They recorded the boy's vitals and then gently placed the collars on the two unconscious boys before rolling them onto the boards and buckling them on securely and putting them into the ambulance. In less than a minute the ambulance took off, sirens blaring.

Brice and Freddie had recovered enough to sit up, though they still winced and held onto their injured parts. "What about us?" Brice complained.  "We're hurt!"

One of the officers smiled grimly at the boy and said, "We have different accommodations for the two of you."  He and his partner quickly cuffed Brice who began to shout and protest his innocence.  "You can't arrest me!  I'm innocent!  I was viciously attacked!  I had to fight back, it was self-defense, ask anyone who was here, they'll tell you!  I'm injured!  I need a doctor!  This isn't fair!  Police brutality!"  The two officers supported Brice, who hopped on one foot melodramatically for a few steps before going limp and making them half drag, half carry him the rest of the way toward the car.

Once they got him in place, they turned toward Freddie who had tried to stand up and run but who had been hemmed in by the two teachers who had been guarding him.

Freddie began crying as soon as the cuffs were placed on his wrists.  His eyes and nose ran freely.  He tried to mop his face by using the shoulder of his tee shirt, but since his hands were behind him he only succeeded in smearing the mess across his cheek.  One of the officers quickly wiped a look of dismay and disgust from his own face.  This wasn't the first 'tough guy' to crack once the cuffs were on him.  Freddie was quickly placed in the back seat next to his friend.  Garcia gave the knife to one of the officers who placed it in the glove compartment, and moments later the police car followed the ambulance.

The men stood together, watching the vehicles depart.  Barnes turned to the others and said, "I recognized two of the kids who ran, were any of you able to identify any of the others?"

Garcia nodded.  "I recognized Eddie Parker from my third period class."

Young nodded as well.  "I have two of them in my gymnastics class.  Jim Barkis and Charlie Grey."

"And then there was Felix, but I think he missed the worst of it."  Barnes added.

"And where Felix is, you're bound to find Aiden, so we can look him up as well and find out how much he saw before he left." said Mr. Stewart.

Barnes turned toward Mrs. Jennings, "Margaret, call an assembly for..." he glanced at his watch.  Good Lord, he thought, it wasn't even nine o' clock yet. "For 10 am, please, and summon..."  Margaret Jennings held up the pad she'd been taking notes on and showed the list of students names to Mr. Barnes, who gave her a wry smile.  

"Thank you." he said.  "After you've done that get me the numbers for Mr. Rossi's and Mr. Di Marco's families, also for Mr. Crighton's and Mr. Argus's parents.  This is going to be a very difficult morning for all of us."  He sighed, "Actually, Margaret, call the assembly for twelve instead.  I have a feeling that these calls are going to take longer than an hour."




AN:
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Reference to The Flash (superhero)
Flash Comics was a comic book published by All American Publications and later National Periodicals (DC Comics). The title ran for 104 issues between January 1940 to February 1949. Many DC Comics characters made their first appearances in Flash Comics, including the The Flash, Hawkman, Black Canary and Johnny Thunder.
Wikipedia

Joel Holt directed and starred in Karate, The Hand of Death, in 1961.

No copyright infringement intended


Marine Corpsman 

In the field, the hospital corpsman must be prepared to treat and dress wounds, carry the wounded and take part fully in the mission of the unit to which he is attached. This can include digging trenches, establishing perimeters, carrying out surveillance, holding a firing line and forced marching. Corpsmen are also trained to tend to illnesses, carry out medical tests, dispense prescribed medications, keep medical records, assist at births and advise on personal hygiene and safety.


Army Combat medics

    (also known as medics) are military personnel who have been trained to at least an EMT-Basic level (8 week course in the U.S. Army), and who are responsible for providing first aid and front line trauma care on the    battlefield. They are also responsible for providing continuing medical care in the absence of a readily available physician, including care for disease and battle injury.


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